Updates to Bureau of Indian Affairs Categorical Exclusions Under the National Environmental Policy Act, 9535-9538 [2018-04513]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 44 / Tuesday, March 6, 2018 / Notices any previous mortgage loan sale of HUD; 6. An employee of HUD’s Office of Housing, a member of such employee’s household, or an entity owned or controlled by any such employee or member of such an employee’s household with household to be inclusive of the employee’s father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandparent, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-inlaw, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughterin-law, first cousin, the spouse of any of the foregoing, and the employee’s spouse; 7. A contractor, subcontractor and/or consultant or advisor (including any agent, employee, partner, director, or principal of any of the foregoing) who performed services for or on behalf of HUD in connection with the sale; 8. An individual or entity that knowingly acquired or will acquire prior to the sale date material nonpublic information, other than that information which is made available to Bidder by HUD pursuant to the terms of this Qualification Statement, about mortgage loans offered in the sale; 9. An individual or entity that knowingly uses the services, directly or indirectly, of any person or entity ineligible under 1 through 10 to assist in preparing any of its bids on the mortgage loans; 10. An individual or entity which knowingly employs or uses the services of an employee of HUD’s Office of Housing (other than in such employee’s official capacity); or The Qualification Statement has additional representations and warranties which the prospective bidder must make, including but not limited to the representation and warranty that the prospective bidder or its Related Entities are not and will not knowingly use the services, directly or indirectly, of any person or entity that is, any of the following (and to the extent that any such individual or entity would prevent the prospective bidder from making the following representations, such individual or entity has been removed from participation in all activities related to this sale and has no ability to influence or control individuals involved in formation of a bid for this sale): (1) An entity or individual is ineligible to bid on any included reverse mortgage loan or on the pool containing such reverse mortgage loan because it is an entity or individual that: VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:39 Mar 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 (a) Serviced or held such reverse mortgage loan at any time during the six-month period prior to the bid; or (b) is any principal of any entity or individual described in the preceding sentence; (c) any employee or subcontractor of such entity or individual during that six-month period; or (d) any entity or individual that employs or uses the services of any other entity or individual described in this paragraph in preparing its bid on such reverse mortgage loan. Freedom of Information Act Requests HUD reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to disclose information regarding HVLS 2018–1, including, but not limited to, the identity of any successful qualified bidder and its bid price or bid percentage for any pool of loans or individual loan, upon the closing of the sale of all the Mortgage Loans. Even if HUD elects not to publicly disclose any information relating to SFLS 2018–1, HUD will disclose any information that HUD is obligated to disclose pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and all regulations promulgated thereunder. Scope of Notice This notice applies to HVLS 2018–1 and does not establish HUD’s policy for the sale of other mortgage loans. Dated: February 23, 2018. Dana T. Wade, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing. [FR Doc. 2018–04528 Filed 3–5–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [189A2100DD/AAKC001030/ A0A501010.999900 253G] Updates to Bureau of Indian Affairs Categorical Exclusions Under the National Environmental Policy Act Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior. ACTION: Notice of proposed action and request for comments. AGENCY: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is proposing to amend its categorical exclusions (CATEXs) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for certain BIA actions and is seeking comment. The BIA is requesting comment on whether to revise or delete any current CATEXs or add any new CATEXs. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 9535 Comments and related material must be postmarked no later than May 7, 2018. ADDRESSES: Please submit your comments by only one of the following means: (1) By mail to: Dr. BJ Howerton, MBA, Branch Chief Environmental and Cultural Resource Management C/O Department of the Interior, 12220 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192; or (2) by email to: bj.howerton@bia.gov. Please put ‘‘CATEX’’ in the subject line. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. BJ Howerton, (703) 390–6524, email: bj.howerton@bia.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: I. Background The NEPA requires Federal agencies to consider the potential environmental consequences of their decisions before deciding whether and how to proceed. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) encourages Federal agencies to use CATEXs to protect the environment more efficiently by: (a) Reducing the resources spent analyzing proposals which generally do not have potentially significant environmental impacts, and (b) focusing resources on proposals that may have significant environmental impacts. The appropriate use of CATEXs allow the NEPA review to be concluded without preparing either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS) (40 CFR 1500.4(p) and § 1508.4). The CEQ regulations implementing NEPA define CATEXs as a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment, and for which, therefore, neither an EA nor an EIS is required. (40 CFR 1508.4). The CEQ regulations encourage the use of CATEXs to reduce unnecessary paperwork and delays. A CATEX is a form of NEPA compliance; it is not an exemption from NEPA, but an exemption from requirements to prepare an EIS. Agency procedures must consider ‘‘extraordinary circumstances,’’ in which case a normally excluded action may have a significant effect and require preparation of an EA or EIS. The Department of the Interior (Interior) has established CATEXs at 43 CFR 46.210. In addition, BIA has bureau-specific CATEXs. The most recent CATEXs BIA established were three based on CATEXs currently used by the United States Forest Service (FS), as described in FS regulations 36 CFR 220, and by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as described the Departmental Manual, 516 DM 11. The BIA relied on the experience of the FS and BLM and applied its expertise to E:\FR\FM\06MRN1.SGM 06MRN1 9536 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 44 / Tuesday, March 6, 2018 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES benchmark these CATEXs and determined these are appropriate to establish as BIA CATEXs. Because these CATEXs have important implications for actions occurring on Indian lands, the BIA initiated consultation and requested comments from all federally recognized Tribes. This consultation period began on July 23, 2014, and concluded on September 21, 2014. A notice published in the Federal Register on November 14, 2014 (79 FR 68287) solicited public comments for that CATEX and ultimately, BIA adopted the forestry CATEXs. See 80 FR 8098 (Feb. 13, 2015). This notice provides information on current BIA CATEXs and requests comment. II. Current BIA CATEXs Most of the current BIA CATEXs reside in the Departmental Manual in Part 516 Chapter 10: Managing the NEPA Process—Bureau of Indian Affairs. The majority of those exclusions in section 10.5 have an effective date of May 27, 2004. In addition, a CATEX for single family homesites at section 10.5(M)(7), became effective August 10, 2012. See 77 FR 47862. Most recently, CATEXs for forestry activities at Sections 10.5(H)(11), (12), and (13), became effective February 13, 2015. See 80 FR 8098. All of these CATEXs currently in effect are listed below: 10.5 Categorical Exclusions. A. Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement of Existing Facilities. Examples are normal renovation of buildings, road maintenance and limited rehabilitation of irrigation structures. B. Transfer of Existing Federal Facilities to Other Entities. Transfer of existing operation and maintenance activities of Federal facilities to tribal groups, water user organizations, or other entities where the anticipated operation and maintenance activities are in a signed contract, follow BIA policy, and no change in operations or maintenance is anticipated. C. Human Resources Programs. Examples are social services, education services, employment assistance, tribal operations, law enforcement and credit and financing activities not related to development. D. Administrative Actions and Other Activities Relating to Trust Resources. Examples are: Management of trust funds (collection and distribution), budget, finance, estate planning, wills and appraisals. E. Self-Determination and SelfGovernance. (1) Self-Determination Act contracts and grants for BIA programs listed as VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:39 Mar 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 categorical exclusions, or for programs in which environmental impacts are adequately addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (2) Self-Governance compacts for BIA programs which are listed as categorical exclusions or for programs in which environmental impacts are adequately addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. F. Rights-of-Way. (1) Rights-of-Way inside another rightof-way, or amendments to rights-of-way where no deviations from or additions to the original right-of-way are involved and where there is an existing NEPA analysis covering the same or similar impacts in the right-of-way area. (2) Service line agreements to an individual residence, building or well from an existing facility where installation will involve no clearance of vegetation from the right-of-way other than for placement of poles, signs (including highway signs), or buried power/cable lines. (3) Renewals, assignments and conversions of existing rights-of-way where there would be essentially no change in use and continuation would not lead to environmental degradation. G. Minerals. (1) Approval of permits for geologic mapping, inventory, reconnaissance and surface sample collecting. (2) Approval of unitization agreements, pooling or communitization agreements. (3) Approval of mineral lease adjustments and transfers, including assignments and subleases. (4) Approval of royalty determinations such as royalty rate adjustments of an existing lease or contract agreement. H. Forestry. (1) Approval of free-use cutting, without permit, to Indian owners for onreservation personal use of forest products, not to exceed 2,500 feet board measure when cutting will not adversely affect associated resources such as riparian zones, areas of special significance, etc. (2) Approval and issuance of cutting permits for forest products not to exceed $5,000 in value. (3) Approval and issuance of paid timber cutting permits or contracts for products valued at less than $25,000 when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (4) Approval of annual logging plans when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (5) Approval of Fire Management Planning Analysis detailing emergency fire suppression activities. (6) Approval of emergency forest and range rehabilitation plans when limited to environmental stabilization on less than 10,000 acres and not including approval of salvage sales of damaged timber. (7) Approval of forest stand improvement projects of less than 2000 acres when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (8) Approval of timber management access skid trail and logging road construction when consistent with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (9) Approval of prescribed burning plans of less than 2000 acres when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (10) Approval of forestation projects with native species and associated protection and site preparation activities on less than 2000 acres when consistent with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (11) Harvesting live trees not to exceed 70 acres, requiring no more than 0.5 mile of temporary road construction. Such activities: (a) Shall not include even-aged regeneration harvests or vegetation type conversions. (b) May include incidental removal of trees for landings, skid trails, and road clearing. (c) May include temporary roads which are defined as roads authorized by contract, permit, lease, other written authorization, or emergency operation not intended to be part of the BIA or Tribal transportation systems and not necessary for long-term resource management. Temporary roads shall be designed to standards appropriate for the intended uses, considering safety, cost of transportation, and impacts on land and resources; and (d) Shall require the treatment of temporary roads constructed or used so as to permit the reestablishment by artificial or natural means, of vegetative cover on the roadway and areas where the vegetative cover was disturbed by the construction or use of the road, as necessary to minimize erosion from the disturbed area. Such treatment shall be designed to reestablish vegetative cover as soon as practicable, but at least within 10 years after the termination of the contract. E:\FR\FM\06MRN1.SGM 06MRN1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 44 / Tuesday, March 6, 2018 / Notices Examples include, but are not limited to: (a) Removing individual trees for sawlogs, specialty products, or fuelwood. (b) Commercial thinning of overstocked stands to achieve the desired stocking level to increase health and vigor. (12) Salvaging dead or dying trees not to exceed 250 acres, requiring no more than 0.5 mile of temporary road construction. Such activities: (a) May include incidental removal of live or dead trees for landings, skid trails, and road clearing. (b) May include temporary roads which are defined as roads authorized by contract, permit, lease, other written authorization, or emergency operation not intended to be part of the BIA or Tribal transportation systems and not necessary for long-term resource management. Temporary roads shall be designed to standards appropriate for the intended uses, considering safety, cost of transportation, and impacts on land and resources; and (c) Shall require the treatment of temporary roads constructed or used so as to permit the reestablishment, by artificial or natural means, of vegetative cover on the roadway and areas where the vegetative cover was disturbed by the construction or use of the road, as necessary to minimize erosion from the disturbed area. Such treatment shall be designed to reestablish vegetative cover as soon as practicable, but at least within 10 years after the termination of the contract. (d) For this CE, a dying tree is defined as a standing tree that has been severely damaged by forces such as fire, wind, ice, insects, or disease, such that in the judgment of an experienced forest professional or someone technically trained for the work, the tree is likely to die within a few years. Examples include, but are not limited to: (a) Harvesting a portion of a stand damaged by a wind or ice event. (b) Harvesting fire damaged trees. (13) Commercial and noncommercial sanitation harvest of trees to control insects or disease not to exceed 250 acres, requiring no more than 0.5 miles of temporary road construction. Such activities: (a) May include removal of infested/ infected trees and adjacent live uninfested/uninfected trees as determined necessary to control the spread of insects or disease and (b) May include incidental removal of live or dead trees for landings, skid trails, and road clearing. VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:39 Mar 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 (c) May include temporary roads which are defined as roads authorized by contract, permit, lease, other written authorization, or emergency operation not intended to be part of the BIA or tribal transportation systems and not necessary for long-term resource management. Temporary roads shall be designed to standards appropriate for the intended uses, considering safety, cost of transportation, and impacts on land and resources; and (d) Shall require the treatment of temporary roads constructed or used so as to permit the reestablishment, by artificial or natural means, of vegetative cover on the roadway and areas where the vegetative cover was disturbed by the construction or use of the road, as necessary to minimize erosion from the disturbed area. Such treatment shall be designed to reestablish vegetative cover as soon as practicable, but at least within 10 years after the termination of the contract. Examples include, but are not limited to: (a) Felling and harvesting trees infested with mountain pine beetles and immediately adjacent uninfested trees to control expanding spot infestations (a buffer) and (b) Removing or destroying trees infested or infected with a new exotic insect or disease, such as emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, or sudden oak death pathogen. I. Land Conveyance and Other Transfers. Approvals or grants of conveyances and other transfers of interests in land where no change in land use is planned. J. Reservation Proclamations. Lands established as or added to a reservation pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 467, where no change in land use is planned. K. Waste Management. (1) Closure operations for solid waste facilities when done in compliance with other federal laws and regulations and where cover material is taken from locations which have been approved for use by earlier NEPA analysis. (2) Activities involving remediation of hazardous waste sites if done in compliance with applicable federal laws such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (Pub. L. 94–580), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Pub. L. 96–516) or Toxic Substances Control Act (Pub. L. 94– 469). L. Roads and Transportation. (1) Approval of utility installations along or across a transportation facility located in whole within the limits of the roadway right-of-way. PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 9537 (2) Construction of bicycle and pedestrian lanes and paths adjacent to existing highways and within the existing rights-of-way. (3) Activities included in a ‘‘highway safety plan’’ under 23 CFR 402. (4) Installation of fencing, signs, pavement markings, small passenger shelters, traffic signals, and railroad warning devices where no substantial land acquisition or traffic disruption will occur. (5) Emergency repairs under 23 U.S.C. 125. (6) Acquisition of scenic easements. (7) Alterations to facilities to make them accessible for the elderly or handicapped. (8) Resurfacing a highway without adding to the existing width. (9) Rehabilitation, reconstruction or replacement of an existing bridge structure on essentially the same alignment or location (e.g., widening, adding shoulders or safety lanes, walkways, bikeways or guardrails). (10) Approvals for changes in access control within existing right-of-ways. (11) Road construction within an existing right-of-way which has already been acquired for a HUD housing project and for which earlier NEPA analysis has already been prepared. M. Other. (1) Data gathering activities such as inventories, soil and range surveys, timber cruising, geological, geophysical, archeological, paleontological and cadastral surveys. (2) Establishment of non-disturbance environmental quality monitoring programs and field monitoring stations including testing services. (3) Actions where BIA has concurrence or co-approval with another Bureau and the action is categorically excluded for that Bureau. (4) Approval of an Application for Permit to Drill for a new water source or observation well. (5) Approval of conversion of an abandoned oil well to a water well if water facilities are established only near the well site. (6) Approval and issuance of permits under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 470aa-ll) when the permitted activity is being done as a part of an action for which a NEPA analysis has been, or is being prepared. (7) Approval of leases, easements or funds for single-family homesites and associated improvements, including but not limited to, construction of homes, outbuildings, access roads, and utility lines, which encompass five acres or less of contiguous land, provided that such sites and associated improvements do not adversely affect any tribal E:\FR\FM\06MRN1.SGM 06MRN1 9538 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 44 / Tuesday, March 6, 2018 / Notices cultural resources or historic properties and are in compliance with applicable federal and tribal laws. Home construction may include up to four dwelling units, whether in a single building or up to four separate buildings. III. Comments Invited The BIA encourages interested persons to submit written comments on any BIA CATEX. For example, comments may address keeping, revising, or deleting current CATEXS and suggest new CATEXS for consideration. Persons submitting information should include their name, address, and other appropriate contact information. Before including such personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. You may submit your information by one of the means listed under ADDRESSES. If you submit information by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8 1⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit information by mail and would like to know it was received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. The BIA will consider all comments received during the comment period. Dated: January 24, 2018. John Tahsuda, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs, Exercising the Authority of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs. [FR Doc. 2018–04513 Filed 3–5–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [AA–9381, AA–9414, AA–9415, AA–9419, AA–9420, AA–9429, AA–9430, AA–9437, AA–9699, AA–9722; 18X.LLAK944000. L14100000.HY0000.P] sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Alaska Native Claims Selection Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hereby provides constructive notice that it will issue an appealable decision approving conveyance of the surface and SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:39 Mar 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 subsurface estates in certain lands to Calista Corporation, an Alaska Native regional corporation, pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, as amended (ANCSA). Any party claiming a property interest in the lands affected by the decision may appeal the decision in accordance with the requirements of 43 CFR part 4 within the time limits set out in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section. DATES: You may obtain a copy of the decision from the Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office, 222 West Seventh Avenue, #13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513–7504. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chelsea Kreiner, BLM Alaska State Office, 907–271–4205, or ckreiner@ blm.gov. The BLM Alaska State Office may also be contacted via Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) through the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339. The relay service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the BLM. The BLM will reply during normal business hours. As required by 43 CFR 2650.7(d), notice is hereby given that the BLM will issue an appealable decision to Calista Corporation. The decision approves conveyance of the surface and subsurface estates in certain lands pursuant to ANCSA (43 U.S.C. 1601, et seq.), as amended. The lands are located within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, and aggregate 122.49 acres. The BLM will also publish the notice of the decision once a week for four consecutive weeks in The Delta Discovery newspaper. Any party claiming a property interest in the lands affected by the decision may appeal the decision in accordance with the requirements of 43 CFR part 4 within the following time limits: 1. Unknown parties, parties unable to be located after reasonable efforts have been expended to locate, parties who fail or refuse to sign their return receipt, and parties who receive a copy of the decision by regular mail which is not certified, return receipt requested, shall have until April 5, 2018 to file an appeal. 2. Parties receiving service of the decision by certified mail shall have 30 days from the date of receipt to file an appeal. Parties who do not file an appeal in accordance with the requirements of 43 CFR part 4 shall be deemed to have waived their rights. Notices of appeal SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 transmitted by facsimile will not be accepted as timely filed. Chelsea Kreiner, Land Law Examiner, Adjudication Section. [FR Doc. 2018–04474 Filed 3–5–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–JA–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCAD01000 L12200000.PM0000 18XL1109AF] Meetings of the Dumont Dunes Subgroup of the California Desert District Advisory Council, CA Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of public meetings. AGENCY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, and the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 (REA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Dumont Dunes Subgroup of the California Desert District Advisory Council (DAC) will meet as indicated below. SUMMARY: The BLM’s Dumont Dunes Subgroup of the California DAC will hold public meetings on March 24, 2018, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on September 18, 2018, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meetings will be held at the Barstow Field Office, 2601 Barstow Rd., Barstow, CA 92311. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katrina Symons, BLM Barstow Field Office, email: ksymons@blm.gov, telephone: 760–252–6000. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Dumont Dunes Subgroup operates under the authority of the DAC and provides input to the BLM regarding issues pertinent to the Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area. Meetings are open to the public. Proposed agenda items for the two public meetings include holiday volunteer scheduling and BLM updates on management of the Area, according to the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. The DATES: E:\FR\FM\06MRN1.SGM 06MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 44 (Tuesday, March 6, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9535-9538]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-04513]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs

[189A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900 253G]


Updates to Bureau of Indian Affairs Categorical Exclusions Under 
the National Environmental Policy Act

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of proposed action and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is proposing to amend its 
categorical exclusions (CATEXs) under the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA) for certain BIA actions and is seeking comment. The 
BIA is requesting comment on whether to revise or delete any current 
CATEXs or add any new CATEXs.

DATES: Comments and related material must be postmarked no later than 
May 7, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Please submit your comments by only one of the following 
means: (1) By mail to: Dr. BJ Howerton, MBA, Branch Chief Environmental 
and Cultural Resource Management C/O Department of the Interior, 12220 
Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192; or (2) by email to: 
[email protected]. Please put ``CATEX'' in the subject line.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. BJ Howerton, (703) 390-6524, 
email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The NEPA requires Federal agencies to consider the potential 
environmental consequences of their decisions before deciding whether 
and how to proceed. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 
encourages Federal agencies to use CATEXs to protect the environment 
more efficiently by: (a) Reducing the resources spent analyzing 
proposals which generally do not have potentially significant 
environmental impacts, and (b) focusing resources on proposals that may 
have significant environmental impacts. The appropriate use of CATEXs 
allow the NEPA review to be concluded without preparing either an 
environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement 
(EIS) (40 CFR 1500.4(p) and Sec.  1508.4).
    The CEQ regulations implementing NEPA define CATEXs as a category 
of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant 
effect on the human environment, and for which, therefore, neither an 
EA nor an EIS is required. (40 CFR 1508.4). The CEQ regulations 
encourage the use of CATEXs to reduce unnecessary paperwork and delays. 
A CATEX is a form of NEPA compliance; it is not an exemption from NEPA, 
but an exemption from requirements to prepare an EIS. Agency procedures 
must consider ``extraordinary circumstances,'' in which case a normally 
excluded action may have a significant effect and require preparation 
of an EA or EIS.
    The Department of the Interior (Interior) has established CATEXs at 
43 CFR 46.210. In addition, BIA has bureau-specific CATEXs. The most 
recent CATEXs BIA established were three based on CATEXs currently used 
by the United States Forest Service (FS), as described in FS 
regulations 36 CFR 220, and by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as 
described the Departmental Manual, 516 DM 11. The BIA relied on the 
experience of the FS and BLM and applied its expertise to

[[Page 9536]]

benchmark these CATEXs and determined these are appropriate to 
establish as BIA CATEXs. Because these CATEXs have important 
implications for actions occurring on Indian lands, the BIA initiated 
consultation and requested comments from all federally recognized 
Tribes. This consultation period began on July 23, 2014, and concluded 
on September 21, 2014. A notice published in the Federal Register on 
November 14, 2014 (79 FR 68287) solicited public comments for that 
CATEX and ultimately, BIA adopted the forestry CATEXs. See 80 FR 8098 
(Feb. 13, 2015).
    This notice provides information on current BIA CATEXs and requests 
comment.

II. Current BIA CATEXs

    Most of the current BIA CATEXs reside in the Departmental Manual in 
Part 516 Chapter 10: Managing the NEPA Process--Bureau of Indian 
Affairs. The majority of those exclusions in section 10.5 have an 
effective date of May 27, 2004. In addition, a CATEX for single family 
homesites at section 10.5(M)(7), became effective August 10, 2012. See 
77 FR 47862. Most recently, CATEXs for forestry activities at Sections 
10.5(H)(11), (12), and (13), became effective February 13, 2015. See 80 
FR 8098. All of these CATEXs currently in effect are listed below:
    10.5 Categorical Exclusions.
    A. Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement of Existing Facilities. 
Examples are normal renovation of buildings, road maintenance and 
limited rehabilitation of irrigation structures.
    B. Transfer of Existing Federal Facilities to Other Entities. 
Transfer of existing operation and maintenance activities of Federal 
facilities to tribal groups, water user organizations, or other 
entities where the anticipated operation and maintenance activities are 
in a signed contract, follow BIA policy, and no change in operations or 
maintenance is anticipated.
    C. Human Resources Programs. Examples are social services, 
education services, employment assistance, tribal operations, law 
enforcement and credit and financing activities not related to 
development.
    D. Administrative Actions and Other Activities Relating to Trust 
Resources. Examples are: Management of trust funds (collection and 
distribution), budget, finance, estate planning, wills and appraisals.
    E. Self-Determination and Self-Governance.
    (1) Self-Determination Act contracts and grants for BIA programs 
listed as categorical exclusions, or for programs in which 
environmental impacts are adequately addressed in earlier NEPA 
analysis.
    (2) Self-Governance compacts for BIA programs which are listed as 
categorical exclusions or for programs in which environmental impacts 
are adequately addressed in earlier NEPA analysis.
    F. Rights-of-Way.
    (1) Rights-of-Way inside another right-of-way, or amendments to 
rights-of-way where no deviations from or additions to the original 
right-of-way are involved and where there is an existing NEPA analysis 
covering the same or similar impacts in the right-of-way area.
    (2) Service line agreements to an individual residence, building or 
well from an existing facility where installation will involve no 
clearance of vegetation from the right-of-way other than for placement 
of poles, signs (including highway signs), or buried power/cable lines.
    (3) Renewals, assignments and conversions of existing rights-of-way 
where there would be essentially no change in use and continuation 
would not lead to environmental degradation.
    G. Minerals.
    (1) Approval of permits for geologic mapping, inventory, 
reconnaissance and surface sample collecting.
    (2) Approval of unitization agreements, pooling or communitization 
agreements.
    (3) Approval of mineral lease adjustments and transfers, including 
assignments and subleases.
    (4) Approval of royalty determinations such as royalty rate 
adjustments of an existing lease or contract agreement.
    H. Forestry.
    (1) Approval of free-use cutting, without permit, to Indian owners 
for on-reservation personal use of forest products, not to exceed 2,500 
feet board measure when cutting will not adversely affect associated 
resources such as riparian zones, areas of special significance, etc.
    (2) Approval and issuance of cutting permits for forest products 
not to exceed $5,000 in value.
    (3) Approval and issuance of paid timber cutting permits or 
contracts for products valued at less than $25,000 when in compliance 
with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan 
addressed in earlier NEPA analysis.
    (4) Approval of annual logging plans when in compliance with 
policies and guidelines established by a current management plan 
addressed in earlier NEPA analysis.
    (5) Approval of Fire Management Planning Analysis detailing 
emergency fire suppression activities.
    (6) Approval of emergency forest and range rehabilitation plans 
when limited to environmental stabilization on less than 10,000 acres 
and not including approval of salvage sales of damaged timber.
    (7) Approval of forest stand improvement projects of less than 2000 
acres when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a 
current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis.
    (8) Approval of timber management access skid trail and logging 
road construction when consistent with policies and guidelines 
established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA 
analysis.
    (9) Approval of prescribed burning plans of less than 2000 acres 
when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a 
current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis.
    (10) Approval of forestation projects with native species and 
associated protection and site preparation activities on less than 2000 
acres when consistent with policies and guidelines established by a 
current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis.
    (11) Harvesting live trees not to exceed 70 acres, requiring no 
more than 0.5 mile of temporary road construction. Such activities:
    (a) Shall not include even-aged regeneration harvests or vegetation 
type conversions.
    (b) May include incidental removal of trees for landings, skid 
trails, and road clearing.
    (c) May include temporary roads which are defined as roads 
authorized by contract, permit, lease, other written authorization, or 
emergency operation not intended to be part of the BIA or Tribal 
transportation systems and not necessary for long-term resource 
management. Temporary roads shall be designed to standards appropriate 
for the intended uses, considering safety, cost of transportation, and 
impacts on land and resources; and
    (d) Shall require the treatment of temporary roads constructed or 
used so as to permit the reestablishment by artificial or natural 
means, of vegetative cover on the roadway and areas where the 
vegetative cover was disturbed by the construction or use of the road, 
as necessary to minimize erosion from the disturbed area. Such 
treatment shall be designed to reestablish vegetative cover as soon as 
practicable, but at least within 10 years after the termination of the 
contract.

[[Page 9537]]

    Examples include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Removing individual trees for sawlogs, specialty products, or 
fuelwood.
    (b) Commercial thinning of overstocked stands to achieve the 
desired stocking level to increase health and vigor.
    (12) Salvaging dead or dying trees not to exceed 250 acres, 
requiring no more than 0.5 mile of temporary road construction. Such 
activities:
    (a) May include incidental removal of live or dead trees for 
landings, skid trails, and road clearing.
    (b) May include temporary roads which are defined as roads 
authorized by contract, permit, lease, other written authorization, or 
emergency operation not intended to be part of the BIA or Tribal 
transportation systems and not necessary for long-term resource 
management. Temporary roads shall be designed to standards appropriate 
for the intended uses, considering safety, cost of transportation, and 
impacts on land and resources; and
    (c) Shall require the treatment of temporary roads constructed or 
used so as to permit the reestablishment, by artificial or natural 
means, of vegetative cover on the roadway and areas where the 
vegetative cover was disturbed by the construction or use of the road, 
as necessary to minimize erosion from the disturbed area. Such 
treatment shall be designed to reestablish vegetative cover as soon as 
practicable, but at least within 10 years after the termination of the 
contract.
    (d) For this CE, a dying tree is defined as a standing tree that 
has been severely damaged by forces such as fire, wind, ice, insects, 
or disease, such that in the judgment of an experienced forest 
professional or someone technically trained for the work, the tree is 
likely to die within a few years.
    Examples include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Harvesting a portion of a stand damaged by a wind or ice event.
    (b) Harvesting fire damaged trees.
    (13) Commercial and noncommercial sanitation harvest of trees to 
control insects or disease not to exceed 250 acres, requiring no more 
than 0.5 miles of temporary road construction. Such activities:
    (a) May include removal of infested/infected trees and adjacent 
live uninfested/uninfected trees as determined necessary to control the 
spread of insects or disease and
    (b) May include incidental removal of live or dead trees for 
landings, skid trails, and road clearing.
    (c) May include temporary roads which are defined as roads 
authorized by contract, permit, lease, other written authorization, or 
emergency operation not intended to be part of the BIA or tribal 
transportation systems and not necessary for long-term resource 
management. Temporary roads shall be designed to standards appropriate 
for the intended uses, considering safety, cost of transportation, and 
impacts on land and resources; and
    (d) Shall require the treatment of temporary roads constructed or 
used so as to permit the reestablishment, by artificial or natural 
means, of vegetative cover on the roadway and areas where the 
vegetative cover was disturbed by the construction or use of the road, 
as necessary to minimize erosion from the disturbed area. Such 
treatment shall be designed to reestablish vegetative cover as soon as 
practicable, but at least within 10 years after the termination of the 
contract.
    Examples include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Felling and harvesting trees infested with mountain pine 
beetles and immediately adjacent uninfested trees to control expanding 
spot infestations (a buffer) and
    (b) Removing or destroying trees infested or infected with a new 
exotic insect or disease, such as emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned 
beetle, or sudden oak death pathogen.
    I. Land Conveyance and Other Transfers. Approvals or grants of 
conveyances and other transfers of interests in land where no change in 
land use is planned.
    J. Reservation Proclamations. Lands established as or added to a 
reservation pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 467, where no change in land use is 
planned.
    K. Waste Management.
    (1) Closure operations for solid waste facilities when done in 
compliance with other federal laws and regulations and where cover 
material is taken from locations which have been approved for use by 
earlier NEPA analysis.
    (2) Activities involving remediation of hazardous waste sites if 
done in compliance with applicable federal laws such as the Resource 
Conservation and Recovery Act (Pub. L. 94-580), Comprehensive 
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Pub. L. 96-
516) or Toxic Substances Control Act (Pub. L. 94-469).
    L. Roads and Transportation.
    (1) Approval of utility installations along or across a 
transportation facility located in whole within the limits of the 
roadway right-of-way.
    (2) Construction of bicycle and pedestrian lanes and paths adjacent 
to existing highways and within the existing rights-of-way.
    (3) Activities included in a ``highway safety plan'' under 23 CFR 
402.
    (4) Installation of fencing, signs, pavement markings, small 
passenger shelters, traffic signals, and railroad warning devices where 
no substantial land acquisition or traffic disruption will occur.
    (5) Emergency repairs under 23 U.S.C. 125.
    (6) Acquisition of scenic easements.
    (7) Alterations to facilities to make them accessible for the 
elderly or handicapped.
    (8) Resurfacing a highway without adding to the existing width.
    (9) Rehabilitation, reconstruction or replacement of an existing 
bridge structure on essentially the same alignment or location (e.g., 
widening, adding shoulders or safety lanes, walkways, bikeways or 
guardrails).
    (10) Approvals for changes in access control within existing right-
of-ways.
    (11) Road construction within an existing right-of-way which has 
already been acquired for a HUD housing project and for which earlier 
NEPA analysis has already been prepared.
    M. Other.
    (1) Data gathering activities such as inventories, soil and range 
surveys, timber cruising, geological, geophysical, archeological, 
paleontological and cadastral surveys.
    (2) Establishment of non-disturbance environmental quality 
monitoring programs and field monitoring stations including testing 
services.
    (3) Actions where BIA has concurrence or co-approval with another 
Bureau and the action is categorically excluded for that Bureau.
    (4) Approval of an Application for Permit to Drill for a new water 
source or observation well.
    (5) Approval of conversion of an abandoned oil well to a water well 
if water facilities are established only near the well site.
    (6) Approval and issuance of permits under the Archaeological 
Resources Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 470aa-ll) when the permitted 
activity is being done as a part of an action for which a NEPA analysis 
has been, or is being prepared.
    (7) Approval of leases, easements or funds for single-family 
homesites and associated improvements, including but not limited to, 
construction of homes, outbuildings, access roads, and utility lines, 
which encompass five acres or less of contiguous land, provided that 
such sites and associated improvements do not adversely affect any 
tribal

[[Page 9538]]

cultural resources or historic properties and are in compliance with 
applicable federal and tribal laws. Home construction may include up to 
four dwelling units, whether in a single building or up to four 
separate buildings.

III. Comments Invited

    The BIA encourages interested persons to submit written comments on 
any BIA CATEX. For example, comments may address keeping, revising, or 
deleting current CATEXS and suggest new CATEXS for consideration. 
Persons submitting information should include their name, address, and 
other appropriate contact information. Before including such personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. You may 
submit your information by one of the means listed under ADDRESSES. If 
you submit information by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an 
unbound format, no larger than 8 \1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If you submit information by mail and 
would like to know it was received, please enclose a stamped, self-
addressed postcard or envelope. The BIA will consider all comments 
received during the comment period.

    Dated: January 24, 2018.
John Tahsuda,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs, Exercising the 
Authority of the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2018-04513 Filed 3-5-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4337-15-P